Robin Lane Fox

Robin James Lane Fox, FRSL (born 5 October 1946)[1] is an English classicist, ancient historian, and gardening writer known for his works on Alexander the Great.[2] Lane Fox is an Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford. Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at New College from 1977 to 2014, he serves as Garden Master and as Extraordinary Lecturer in Ancient History for both New and Exeter Colleges. He has also taught Greek and Latin literature and early Islamic history.[3][4]

Robin Lane Fox

Robin James Lane Fox, FRSL.jpg
Robin Lane Fox at Financial Times 125th Anniversary Party, London, in June 2013
Robin James Lane Fox

(1946-10-05) 5 October 1946 (age 76)
EducationEton College
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford
Occupation(s)Educator, author
Known forHistorian of classical antiquity

His major publications, for which he has won literary prizes including the James Tait Black Award,[5] the Duff Cooper Prize,[6] the Heinemann Award[7] and the Runciman Award,[8] include studies of Alexander the Great and Ancient Macedon, Late Antiquity, Christianity and Paganism, the Bible and history, and the Greek Dark Ages. In addition, he is the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times.

Early lifeEdit

Lane Fox was educated at Eton College, an all-boys public school near Windsor, Berkshire. He studied Literae Humaniores (Classics) at Magdalen College, Oxford.[1] Like his fellow ancient historians Paul Cartledge and Alan Cameron, and philosophers Terence Irwin and John McDowell,[9] he was an undergraduate student of G. E. M. de Ste. Croix.[1][10]

Academic careerEdit

Lane Fox was a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, from 1970 to 1973. From 1974 to 1976, he was a lecturer at Worcester College, Oxford. From 1976 to 1977, he was a research fellow in classical and Islamic history at Worcester.[1] In 1977, he was elected a fellow of New College, Oxford, in succession to G. E. M. de Ste. Croix.[1][10] In 1990, he was appointed Reader in Ancient History within the Faculty of Classics.[11] In 2012, he retired and was appointed an Emeritus Fellow of New College.[12] Important influences on his contributions to the study of ancient history include Louis Robert,[13] Peter Brown,[14] E. R. Dodds,[14] Timothy Barnes,[14] E. J. Bickerman,[15] Martin Litchfield West,[16] Walter Burkert,[16] and his long-standing New College colleague W. G. (George) Forrest.[17]

His 1973 book Alexander the Great was awarded the Duff Cooper Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Due to the success of the book, Lane Fox was historical advisor to the film director Oliver Stone for the epic Alexander. His appearance as an extra in cavalry manoeuvres, in addition to his work as a historical consultant, was publicised at the time of the film's release.[18][19][20] He also wrote and presented Greek Myths: Tales of Travelling Heroes, which was first broadcast on BBC Four at 9:00pm on 15 November 2010.[21]

While primarily focused on ancient Greece, Fox has written three books dealing with the history of Christianity, Pagans and Christians, The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible, and most recently a biography of Saint Augustine, Augustine: Conversions and Confessions, which was awarded the Wolfson History Prize.

Personal lifeEdit

Lane Fox, an atheist, is the father of Martha Lane Fox and of Henry Lane Fox. Martha is an entrepreneur and crossbench life peer who co-founded Henry is CEO of a website, The Browser.[22][23]

As gardening correspondent of the Financial Times, Lane Fox is an outspoken opponent of garden gnomes.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e Robin Lane Fox profile at Debrett's People of Today
  2. ^ Review of Lane Fox in The Independent
  3. ^ "Lane Fox | New College Oxford". Archived from the original on 9 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Classics - Exeter College". Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Lane Fox profile at the Tait Black website". Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  6. ^ Press, Orphans. "Past Winners of The Duff Cooper Prize - The Duff Cooper Prize". Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Lane Fox profile". Folio Society. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  8. ^ Profile of Lane Fox at the Runciman Award winners webpage of the Anglo-Hellenic League Archived 4 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Ste Croix, The Origins of the Peloponnesian War, xii
  10. ^ a b Review of Lane Fox's Travelling Heroes in The Independent
  11. ^ "Mr Robin J. Lane Fox". Faculty of Classics. University of Oxford. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Emeritus, Honorary and Wykeham Fellows". New College. University of Oxford. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  13. ^ Pagans and Christians, p. 10
  14. ^ a b c Pagans and Christians, p. 8
  15. ^ The Unauthorized Version, p. 9
  16. ^ a b Travelling Heroes, xiii
  17. ^ Travelling Heroes, p. xiv
  18. ^ "Into Battle With Alexander", The Times, 4 May 2004.
  19. ^ "Why the lowly shepherd is the one who gets to hear the angels", 20 December 2011, The Daily Telegraph
  20. ^ Profile in The Spectator
  21. ^ Greek Myths: Tales of Travelling Heroes, BBC Four, BBC, UK.
  22. ^ The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible (1991) p.7; ISBN 978-0-14-102296-3
  23. ^ Henry Lane Fox profile in The Telegraph
  24. ^ "Gnomes spark row over fairies at Chelsea", The Independent

External linksEdit